Earth: Revival stirs a lot of different ingredients together: there are some systems from survival games, Iron Man flight controls, MMO raiding and housing mechanics, an cannon-toting shiba inu, and some slick shooting. It’s a storecupboard cleanout kind of meal, and that comes with good and not-so-good connotations.
So let’s start with the good. I spend the majority of my hands-on session completing a dungeon, battling back seemingly endless waves of mutant insectoids while dashing between objective nodes, all en route to a boss fight against the hive’s queen. It’s a brilliant showcase of Earth: Revival’s stylish, fast-paced combat.
You can move quickly, dodge-roll left or right to avoid an immediate attack, sprint, or perform a quick dash, and the controls feel tight and precise whether you’re on PC or mobile. You carry two weapons at any time, which include sci-fi blunderbusses, nondescript assault rifles, modern bows, and even two-handed melee options, and every weapon has two additional abilities that supplement its primary fire. And if that wasn’t enough, every now and then you’ll be able to activate and equip power armour, which basically turns you into Iron Man.
More impressive is how much work has gone into making sure every movement and attack feels weighty. Gunshots pound your eardrums, muzzle flash lights up the environment, and weapons shake and wobble the longer you hold down the trigger. Melee combat is much less convincing, and there’s very little visual feedback when you’re the one being swatted around, so if you typically steer towards melee builds then I’d encourage reconsidering ranged for Earth: Revival.
Outside of dungeons the experience is a bit more baggy. The open-world is made up of various biomes, each with dozens of resource nodes, enemy types, and world bosses. You can get around quickly with a Tron-like motorbike, but on foot things feel pretty sparse. Trudge over to some rocks that you can mine, farm a few mutant enemies for materials, turn it all in for money at the next town or craft something while you’re in the wilds; you get the gist. It feels a bit empty and unloved compared to the tightly designed dungeon brawl the demo opens with.
There are survival systems to contend with, which occasionally force you to track down water and food, but it seems odd to be scrabbling around the world for rations when you can periodically strap into a Gundam and unleash a volley of homing missiles. My companion is a puffer jacket-wearing shiba inu, so how come my dog’s got drip but I’m slurping water from a pond? Resources can’t be that scarce. It’s not a bad experience at all, but it is weird.
And there are so many more systems I’ve still not seen in action. Base-building is almost as in-depth as Fallout 4’s settlement construction. You place each wall, floor, and door, choose the architectural style, furnish it, and paint it however you like. There are physics-based puzzles, cooking stations, crafting trees, and RPG-like upgrade paths. If all that ties together succinctly then Earth: Revival could be a hit, but it’s far too early to tell.